Christmas Crazies and Beanies on Balloons

Sorry for the radio silence, friends. I’ve been beavering away on all the usual things – a sermon series on 2 Thessalonians, a series of meetings on translating the Alpha course, plowing into C. S. Lewis’s diary from his ’20s, reading the Hunger Games books twice, going for long drives in snowy landscapes, and turning this


and this


into a large pile of Christmas presents.

This is an attempt to act pre-emptively on some hard-won self-knowledge. I just know that, when Christmas looms close, I will regret not making some little things for the many and varied members of our family. Last year, the urge came way too late for any action to be taken, since I have to leave three weeks for the postal services of two countries. This year, I sat down with a list, made time estimates, and started on October 9th.

I’m actually more than halfway done, with about a month to go until Final Mailing Day. I may even be rewarded with the start of a new project for myself during Advent. In the meantime, though, I’ve not much to report on the handicrafts front.

I do, however, have one nugget I’ve been saving to show you.

Last year, the 2nd President (vice-president? except there’s a 3rd President) of ACW noticed I could knit lace. She showed me her favorite hat, a little lacy purple thing in a very thin cotton, and asked if I could make her another one.

This, let me tell you, was a bit of a thing. These ladies are Inuit elders, masters of their crafts, at which I am fumblingly learning the very basics. I am like a third grader in a roomful of emeritus professors who are kind enough to tolerate my company. So when it turns out that I might have something to offer? Believe me, I sat up and paid attention.

The trouble with this project was not the knitting – it’s a simple lace pattern I had puzzled out in a few minutes – but the yarn. The powers that be don’t really make fine handknitting cotton. I checked Baffin E, and hunted high and low during my vacation over the summer, and came up with this:

Classic Elite Yarns’ Firefly. Located at Sewickley Yarns, the new and quite different incarnation of Yarns Unlimited, RIP. Not a wisp of cotton in it, but a linen-viscose blend that should have the same drapey, cool qualities.

I swatched thoroughly,

whipped it off my needles one week in October,

Blocked it over a balloon,

And she seems very happy with it.


It seems almost wrong to accept her paying me for it, since she gives me freely of her time and pointers and preferred supplies for sealskin sewing. But she’s also respecting me as a fellow craftswoman, and not as the child I usually feel like, so I accepted, with what I hope is honorable pride in my work. It’s a relatively simple thing, but I have the satisfaction of having worked hard to make it just right.

Now, to make good on the investment by getting decently skilled at sewing.

How are y’all doing? (Since I moved to Canada, I have really started owning my y’all, y’all.) Have the Christmas Crafting Crazies hit at your address?

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